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Interested in Ebooks? Don’t Start With Buying an Ereader

25 November 2011

From Ebook Friendly:

Christmas is coming and lots of people are encouraged to buy ereaders.

Those devices dedicated to reading ebooks have now affordable prices. They are a hot product category. Today almost everywhere everyone it talking about them.

Well, it’s not the right order. If you’re interested in reading ebooks – start with reading about ebooks.

. . . .

1.Test ebookstores

There are many places on the web where you can buy ebooks. Why don’t you spend some time to check which ebookstore fits your needs, and most importantly, has books you are interested in. Ebookstores to test: Kindle Store,Barnes & NobleKoboGoogle eBookstore.

Device needed: computer

2. Test applications

Many ebookstores have their own applications for computers, tablets and mobile phones. How is it to read an electronic book today? Ebooks are not badly prepared .doc files you were trying to read in an office a few years back. Now ebooks can give you a lot of personalization options: fonts, background, you name it. You can also add bookmarks, notes and even share text passages to social media.

If you own a smartphone, go to an application store and find an ereading app. It takes a couple of moments and is a good start. Just keep in mind that eventually you target for a bigger device than your phone.

Device needed: computer, mobile phone

3. Compare prices

If you are sensitive to price, expect ebooks to be cheaper (how much cheaper?), you can check and compare prices of your favorite books using ebook price comparison sites like Luzme or Inkmesh. Or you can have a look at how prices of Kindle books differ across the world. Or you can find out how many Kindle ebooks cost $0.99 or less.

Device needed: computer 

Link to the rest at Ebook Friendly

One thing Passive Guy would add to Piotr’s suggestions is the same thing he says to anyone contemplating a technology purchase – be careful about buying hardware from a small company in a market dominated by giants.

The history of the personal computer is littered with really terrific hardware companies that used their own proprietary operating systems. Their problems arose when they were unable to attract software developers to write good software that ran on their computers. Even Steve Jobs was caught in this trap with his NeXT computer.

Basically, there are two ebook formats that matter today – Kindle’s .mobi or .prc and Epub. PG isn’t aware of any ebook readers that don’t read one of those two formats, but if such a device exists, be very careful about purchasing it.

PG will note that this advice is probably good for the US and the UK at the moment. For other countries and languages other than English, Epub is probably a good bet, but you’ll want to do the kind of checking Piotr recommends to see what prices and availability look like for you.

The other question, which Piotr mentions, is whether an ereader is closely tied to a single ebook store. If it’s Kindle, you can have a reasonable assurance that the large majority of ebooks will be available on Amazon. Ditto for Nook and the Barnes & Noble Nook store. (Again, this works for the US). For other ereaders, make sure there is an easy way of transferring an ebook file to the ereader other than purchasing it at a specific bookstore.


2 Comments to “Interested in Ebooks? Don’t Start With Buying an Ereader”

  1. That’s pretty good advice. I’m always amazed when people buy an ereader, or a tablet, and then seem pretty shocked by the pricing models or the selection of apps, etc.

  2. Good call. Buying anything that won’t support either MOBI or EPUB is asking for trouble. Even big ole’ Microsoft tried releasing its own propietary format – .lit – years ago. That thing went over like a lead balloon.

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